Is the Keystone XL pipeline an earmark? Michigan Republican Rep. Justin Amash is under attack by his Republican primary opponent for opposing a bill that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Amash is being attacked for calling the Keystone XL pipeline bill an “earmark” and a “special break” while appearing on the Justin Barclay Show on WOOD Radio back in November. Specifically, Amash said his primary opponent Brian Ellis favored earmarks, citing his support for the Keystone pipeline bill.
“I, along with every Republican in the U.S. House, support the Keystone Pipeline because it will expand our energy supply, create jobs, and reduce our dependence on Middle East oil,” Ellis shot back in a statement.
“Justin Amash’s refusal to vote in favor of the Keystone Pipeline demonstrates he’s out of touch with West Michigan voters, and his wild accusation that the Keystone Pipeline is an earmark further reveals Justin is just a fringe outlier standing in the way of conservative solutions,” Ellis added.
House Republicans passed a bill back in May that would fast-track the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline by not requiring TransCanada to get White House approval to build the northern section of the Keystone XL pipeline that crosses the U.S.-Canadian border.
Amash was the only Republican to not vote in favor of the bill, instead voting “present.” The bill passed the House, but has gone nowhere in the Senate and the White House threatened to veto the bill if it came across the president’s desk.
Amash says he supports the Keystone XL pipeline, but adds that he does not support corporate handouts. He often votes present when he supports the goal of a bill but not the methods it uses.
“That was a bill to provide one company… a special break from the rules and laws that everyone else has to follow,” Amash said on the Justin Barclay Show. “So every other pipeline operator has to follow the rules, and that bill would have provided an exemption for one company. Of course I support the Keystone pipeline.”
Ellis announced he was challenging the libertarian-leaning Amash for his House seat back in October. Ellis founded an investment advisory firm and is backed by well-funded business Michigan business leaders who want to elect a more traditional Republican, reports Politico.
“I will advance conservative solutions by voting to balance the budget, reduce the tax burden, expand American energy sources, and defend the right to life and our Constitution,” Ellis said.
Amash took to his Facebook account after being criticized for not voting in favor of fast-tracking the Keystone pipeline, laying out a lengthy argument for why he voted the way he did.
“The Keystone XL pipeline is a private project owned by TransCanada Corporation. This bill improperly exempts TransCanada Corporation — and no other company — from laws that require pipeline owners and operators to obtain certain government permits and approvals,” Amash wrote.
“It’s improper, however, for Congress to write a bill that names and benefits one private project, while doing nothing to address the underlying problems that allowed such delays to occur,” Amash added. “A proper bill would address the circumstances that allow any such project to be held up for political reasons, not just Keystone XL.”
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